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The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Stars Reflect on Their Superspy Days

Robert Vaughn and David McCallum, The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

It was the series that brought a bit of Bond into the American living room. The Man from U.N.C.L.E. was the hip spy show long before Jennifer Garner put on a wig or Chuck got embedded. Napoleon Solo (Robert Vaughn) and his mop-topped Russian compadre, Illya Kuryakin (David McCallum), beat up villains, heated up vixens and captured a nation of crazed teenage fans in the swinging '60s. But the series would go out on a fizzle rather than a bang as its fourth season ended early due to lackluster scripts and changing times (it was replaced in the lineup by Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In). There was one TV reunion movie that gained high ratings, but no sequel. Today both actors enjoy ongoing success: Vaughn in his AMC series Hustle and McCallum with NCIS. read more

What did the B.A. in B.A. ...

Clockwise, from bottom: Mr. T, Dirk Benedict, George Peppard, Dwight Schultz, The A-Team

Question: What did the B.A. in B.A. Baracus, aka Mr. T, stand for?


Answer: Officially, the A-Team master mechanic's initials stood for "bad attitude," but most fans hold to the belief that they were really for "bad ass." Depending on which day you caught him, either could be accurate. If you'd asked any of the show's producers or the reporters who interviewed the mercurial star at a bad time, however, my guess is the consensus would lean toward the former.

The first time TV Guide sent a reporter to spend six days on the set of the hit action show, which ran on NBC from January 1983 to June 1987, the writer was stonewalled by T's equally formidable brothers, who explained that an interview wouldn't happen unless it was a matter of life or death. Asked if another time was more appropriate, perhaps lunchtime or later in the afte read more

I always loved The Man from ...

Question: I always loved The Man from U.N.C.L.E. as a kid, especially David McCallum's Illya Kuryakin. I've just recently become a big fan of NCIS and am trying to remember: What were the numbers that Napoleon Solo and Ilya went by?


Answer: Ah, an easy and short one. Man from U.N.C.L.E.'s Solo (Robert Vaughn) almost always sported an 11 on his badge, while Kuryakin's bore the number 2.

read more

It seems like every other ...

Question: It seems like every other movie I see advertised is based on a TV show, like The Dukes of Hazzard. But what about the other way around? I know there was a series based on My Big Fat Greek Wedding, but what other TV series have been based on a movie, and were any of them good?


Answer: There have been a handful of top-notch TV shows based on movies. The flop Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992) was revived as Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003); Robert Altman's acerbic M*A*S*H* (1970) became the long-running M*A*S*H (1972-1983); Neil Simon read more

Who was that gorgeous Russian ...

Say U.N.C.L.E.: secret agents McCallum and Vaughn

Question: Who was that gorgeous Russian actor in The Man from U.N.C.L.E.? Not Napoleon, the other man. Thanks, hon.


Answer: You're quite welcome, hon. And let me point out that while Russian U.N.C.L.E. agent Ilya Kuryakin, was played by Scottish actor David McCallum, the actor would most likely accept "gorgeous" over some of the other adjectives love-struck women came up with at the time.

Take, for example, the word "cute," a favorite of fan magazines during the tongue-in-cheek spy series' 1964-68 run on NBC. "That's an American word I hate," McCallum, who played opposite Robert Vaughn's American agent, Napoleon Solo, told TV Guide in 1966. "A litter of mongrel puppies is cute."

Of course, the actor didn't have much say over how his female fans — and there were a lot of them — treated him and neith read more

What other TV shows did Gene ...

Question: What other TV shows did Gene Roddenberry create before Star Trek? Thanks.Answer: Before launching the phenomenon that is Star Trek, Roddenberry created only one network series, The Lieutenant, which ran on NBC for a year beginning in September 1963. The show was set at Camp Pendleton and it focused on a wet-behind-the-ears Marine Corps officer, Bill Rice (Gary Lockwood), his commanding officer (The Man from U.N.C.L.E.'s Robert Vaughn), an array of other military types and the many women in Bill's swingin' civilian life. Before that, Roddenberry racked up an impressive résumé writing for such shows as Highway Patrol; Have Gun, Will Trave read more

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